Craft Futures 40 Under 40 at Smithsonian Renwick

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40 under 40:Craft Futures features forty artists born since 1972, the year the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft and decorative arts program was established at its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery. 

Opening July 20, 2012, the exhibition investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and metalwork, as well as in fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing, and mathematics. The range of disciplines represented illustrates new avenues for the handmade in contemporary culture.

Matthew Szösz, b. 1974

All of the artworks selected for display in the exhibition were created since Sept. 11, 2001. This new work reflects the changed world that exists today, which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.

Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition. The museum hopes to acquire works by every artist featured in the exhibition to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery. 

Matthew Szosz Untitled (Inflatable no.46p)
Matthew demo’d his technique at the Washington Glass School – click HERE to jump to description and video.

Click HERE to jump to the list of the youngsters in the show.

40 under 40: Craft Futures July 20, 2012 – February 3, 2013
1st floor, Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.) Washington, DC


Washington Glass Presents to James Renwick Alliance

Clemmer Montague – President of the James Renwick Alliance introduces the panel of speakers to the audience.

The James Renwick Alliance (JRA) is dedicated to advancing scholarship and education on contemporary American craft and to encouraging connoisseurship and collecting. The Alliance assists the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in adding to its permanent collection of American craft, supports scholarly research in contemporary American craft and pursues other activities in support of the studio craft movement. As part if this goal, the JRA held a talk on the process and inspirations that made up Washington Glass Studio’s recently completed Safeway Bethesda public art project. The talk was much more popular than the organizers had anticipated, as there was standing room only. Readers of the Glass School blog are familiar with the development of the project. Here are some shots of the event – photos by Miriam Rosenthal of ThirdEyePhotography.


Safeway’s Renee Montgomery, Safeway’s Eastern Division, Area Real Estate Manager outlines the Safeway’s approach towards supporting and integrating American craft artwork in its buildings.


Michael Janis outlines the concepts employed by the glass studio.


The audience is transfixed by the sheer poetry of the project .


Here Michael describes how eco-artist Erwin Timmers is planning to save the planet with his sustainable design artwork – one piece at a time.

This is the part where Erwin sings ♪ Here I Come To Save The Day! ♫

The talk continued with a tour of the Safeway public art project onsite, hosted by Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers. For more information about the James Renwick Alliance events – click HERE.

Judith Schaechter Workshop

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Judith Schaechter, Widow, (2008), Collection of Colleen and John Kotelly, Photo by Dominic Episcopo/Renwick Gallery, SI

The Grand Poobah Savior of Stained Glass – Judith Schaechter – who single-handedly revolutionized the craft of stained glass through her unique aesthetic and inventive approach to materials is one of the featured artists at the Smithsonian Institute‘s exhibition, “History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011.”

Judith held a Creativity Workshop as part of the James Renwick Alliance‘s “Distinguished Artist” series this past weekend at the Washington Glass School. photos by Miriam Rosenthal / Third Eye Photography

The workshop participants re-enact Da Vinci’s “Last Supper with Judith Schaechter

Judith workshop was geared towards getting the participants to expand their creative practice, and had some fun creative exercises for everyone.

Judith has plans for the unsuspecting class.

L-R Jimmy Powers, Clemmer Montague, Sherry Selevan, Diane Cooper Cabe begin unleashing their creative wills.

Judith shares her thoughts with Elmerina and Paul Parkman.

Soon creativity is flying around the school – unstoppable. Ideas for artwork, fashion, events – everything at once. The innermost thoughts of the participants are explored.

Judith indicates her approval of the designs.

What one of the students was contemplating.

See more of Judith Schaechter’s work in the exhibition “History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011,” on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery through July 31. The show was curated by Renwick curator Nicholas R. Bell. The artists were selected by Bell, Ulysses Dietz, senior curator at The Neward Museum and Andrew Wagner. The exhibition also features the work of silversmith Ubaldo Vitali, ceramic artist Cliff Lee and furnituremaker Matthias Pliessnig.

Smithsonian Resident Associates Tour Glass Studios

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A Day of GlassAll-Day Tour - Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Smithsonian Institution has a Resident Associate Program (RAP)—offering opportunities for education, fun, and community to the Washington, D.C., area. The RAP presents about 750 programs each year, including lectures, seminars and study tours.
The most recent offering includes a tour of work and the studios of some area leading glass artists.
From the Smithsonian RAP website:
A rare opportunity to visit glass artists at work and at home. These local artists will give us demonstrations, invite us to view their art, and explain how they use techniques that run the gamut from ancient to 21st century.
Begin at the home/studio of Eric Markow and Thom Norris as see how they bring their disciplines to their complex, enigmatic woven glass sculptures.

Next, visit St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Springfield to meet artists Jimmy Powers and Lisa Osgood Dano.
Powers, a stained glass artist who has lectured and demonstrated at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and American Art Museum, will discuss how he created a newly installed stained glass window in the church and, with Elizabeth Ryland Mears, 48 other stained glass panels there. Dano combines the ancient art of mosaics with contemporary methods and materials to achieve a balance of texture and movement.
We will also visit St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burke, where Mears designed the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and
chapel.

Conclude the day at Mears’ home/studio, where she will demonstrate the workings of the bench torch by creating a small, solid sculpture in clear glass. The group will have an opportunity to enjoy her glass-filled home, which showcases her work and that of other artists.

A three-course lunch is included. This tour is led by museum education consultant Sheila Pinsker.

Saturday, January 22, 2011, 8:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C St., S.W. (corner of 6th & C Sts.)

Click HERE to jump to the Smithsonian RAP glass tour site.

Karen LaMonte @ Smithsonian

>Last night was the dinner with artist Karen LaMonte and talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her artwork “Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery” was just acquired by the museum. She talked of her work and process to make this haunting and striking cast glass sculpture – the work is so technically complex that it can only be crafted at Lhotsky‘s studio in the Czech Repbulic, one of the largest and most advanced centers for glass casting. It was a fascinating and fun night in the museum’s galleries!

Renwick curator Nicholas Bell on the Tim Tate aquisition

>Nicholas Bell, curator of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, said the recent acquisition of a multi-media work by Washington Glass School director Tim Tate represented a big step for an institution dedicated to showcasing one-of-a-kind handmade pieces because it includes an industrially made video screen as one of several elements.
“To accession an object that includes mass-manufactured technology is huge for us,” Bell told the Hot Sheet in a telephone interview. “It allows us to take the conversation about how craft interacts with a digital society to a new level as people get to experience Oracle in our gallery.”


Tim Tate, Oracle, 2009. Blown and cast glass, electronics, original video. H 16, W 8, D 8 in.
photo: Anything Photographic

For the full story- click on this link to The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet.

Smithsonian Journeys tours Washington Glass School

> photo by Nancy Donnelly
Smithsonian Journeys host a destination tour of the Smithsonian Craft Show, the nation’s most prestigious juried exhibition of contemporary craft. As a tour highlight is a curator-led tour of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, a private tour of the Luce Foundation Center for American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and a tour of artists studio – which has been for the past two years the Washington Glass School.

The host for the group is Charlene Johnson – an expert in contemporary American crafts. She received her Master’s degree in the history of decorative arts from Parsons School of Design, and now teaches a course on Ethnic and Folk Art Expression in Contemporary Art at the Corcoran School of Art. Charlene is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where she leads gallery talks on crafts at the Luce Foundation Center.

The tour of the school included Allegra Marquart talking about her work, Tim Tate and Michael Janis talking about their techniques and work.